With the coming of this uncalled for virus, which took over the world and 2020, the EdTech sector saw a huge growth spurt as the world got digitized. Still, along with it, India faces the digital divide problem rising from the long-dreaded class difference problem of the country.
In the midst of the cold winter of January of 2020, the world saw the onset of a deadly virus that kept spreading like a backfire. Soon the wince turned into a frown when March of 2020 came to our door. As if the forest fires, potential war, breaking out, etc. wasn’t enough, it brought us a lockdown, with thousands of death and a deadly virus that restrained us from let alone human touch, but also stepping out of the house altogether. With exams looming over their head and the question of their future at stake, and no physical or regular classes, the anxiety grew more day by day. Online classes and Ed Tech companies as coaching centres became the new normal for aspiring students. But this brought the long-dreaded question of class difference, now taking on the veil of the digital divide.
Ed-Tech; pros and cons
With the onset of the pandemic, there is no denying that the Ed-tech sector is having massive growth with a growing audience and hundreds of startups coming up. The Ed-tech sector developed at a CARG of 52%, and it is expected to turn into a $1.96 billion industry by 2021. Along with this, the startups have seen an investment of $2.22billion investment in 2020. With such an upsurge, of course, these companies are pushed towards expanding their reach and content. Some pros of this sector are:
- A helping hand; the students in these uncertainties and irregular classes lack proper guidance and feel lost. This is where the online learning companies come to play. They provide proper guidance for the students and, along with it, give course-related video classes, notes and much more, and this is just a couple of clicks away.
- Safety; well, it's already known that the pandemic has restricted our movements even if things are getting a little more liberating, but the pandemic hasn’t ended yet. The accumulation of people in places such as classrooms is still a risk factor. Hence, ed- tech providing their service and products in the house's safety is a huge boon.
- Accessibility: the internet is almost available to all in this age of technology irrespective of class, country and age. And this is the only requirement to get access to the world of online classes and coaching. Therefore accessing it is at your fingertips.
If we talk about the cons, there’s only one, and it is the expensive courses these companies provide, which again highlights the huge class difference that this country faces. With the rise in demand, the cost increases. But looking at the silver lining, some startups provide budget learning, and PrepOnline is one such. They provide you with courses related to entrance and board exam with a minimum cost rate without compromising the quality. Plus, there are free classes and scholarships for students in need.
Academics and class difference
When it comes to boards and entrance exams, it gives the students the jitters. And preparing for those seems like the biggest hurdle for a person in their academic life. Moreover, the lesser privileged find it even harder to take this load when the question of making two ends meet come in. and with the pandemic showing up at our doorsteps and it constrained us from so many things. But the EdTech has helped the students, especially the one appearing for big exams and it is well proven when we see that the user base which is expected to grow by 44%, going up to 96 billion users and in India, it is forecasted to grow by 15.64% and exceed 48 billion users. But what EdTech today is not even 2% of what kind of product it might be able to produce tomorrow. The market is getting so huge that it is quite a time to have a groundbreaking innovation to help the students prepare for their studies personally. At PrepOnline, they believe in changing with time and adopting new ways to get the students accustomed to this new normal, so they came up with the concept of concise style of learning where the students can get done with their syllabus with short and brief classes which is enough for them to clear their concepts instead of long and elaborate video lectures. But the question of this digital divide as a result of the new normal still lingers on. Well, this issue did got addressed in the upper house during the parliament sitting were the education minister Mr, Porkhriyal as a rebuttal to the questions raised by the opposition MPs on this huge digital divide, came up with the program of One Class, One Channel to community radio channels initiatives to bridge this gap of this class difference. But these temporary solutions to this impending problem of digital divide under the veil of class difference is not very efficient in the long run, and the reduction of the Union Budget on the education sector is fueling the problem even more instead of solving it.
Times are not like they used to be before, and some major changes have taken place within a concise period of time. But there is no choice but to get accustomed to these changes, and for that, one requires being empathetic and providing a helping hand whenever possible. While today you might read this blog in the comfort of your bedroom with the AC on, there might be some kid in the far remote village who is struggling to finish his notes while there is fuel in his lamp so that he can make something off of himself and help his family. But with a little effort and genuine care, this gap can be bridged. If every person with some privilege takes a small step towards helping the less privileged, the world would be a much better place to live in for everyone.